|System: PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: EA Mythic||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: Unlimited||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Contribution to the public quest isn't just calculated by damage done either, but by healing and group support through spells and abilities. All these elements make public quests both fun and easy to take part in. However, the term public quest does tend to infer that players will need each other to complete them, so problems could occur when the lower-tiered public quests have no players around to do them. Ultimately, as time passes, this design flaw will impact the guild-less player, causing them to miss out on potentially better items and, on a more lofty level, game content. Currently, there isn't a problem because there is no shortage of lower-ranked players, but tweaks will most definitely need to be made later on.
Warhammer Online's PvP elements are a definite ray of Elven sunshine. Mythic has divided its PvP priorities into two forms: Scenarios and Open-world RvR. Scenarios are played like instanced team vs. team matches between Order and Destruction. Players can join scenarios as easily as clicking a button on the HUD. Groups of players that have banded together also have the option of joining and playing scenarios together.
Once inside the scenarios, players can expect standard modes of gameplay. Capture the flag and capturing and defending control points are just a few of the game modes. There are some additional ones that add a twist here and there, but it isn't anything veteran gamers haven't seen or played before. When players select to join a scenario, they are placed in a queue, so while the game is preparing a scenario, players can continue to go about their business. Once the scenario is ready, players can join and are instantly loaded into it. Once the scenario is finished, the game places the players back where they were within the game world, allowing them to pick up where they left off. For once, these out-of-world zones aren't tedious or pointless to play, and those who would normally find them to be a waste will catch themselves actually having fun.
Open-world RvR plays out in predetermined areas of each map and there are no multiple instances of the same thing. Battlefield objectives are scattered throughout these contested areas. Each tier has two maps in it, each with its own set of objectives. When one realm captures and holds all those objectives, bonuses are given to the players of that realm and the game acknowledges their dominance. Eventually, Mythic's idea leads to one realm being able to capture and hold all the objectives of each tier until the end, which results in the siege of the other realm's capital city.
Players will earn points for two different ranks, one is their overall rank and the other is their Renown Rank. Earning renown is a matter of participating in PvP, whether it's scenarios or open-world RvR. As players earn renown points and ranks, they get access to renown abilities, which can be used to help their characters become more powerful. Of course, the issue of low-level player populations cannot be ignored. How will the balance be impacted when there aren't any players left in the early tiers of the game?
Warhammer Online makes it so everything matters and contributes to character or guild progression. Players unlock abilities and special awards for killing certain numbers of specific types of enemies, for exploring uncharted corners of the maps, and for doing things that are normally mundane. The brilliance of this system is that MMOs tend to be reward-heavy games anyway, so why not make everything the players do a form of progression. For instance, killing 100 wolves could result in an unlock that gives a special cape or armor piece.
There are a lot of features that make up Warhammer Online. Most of those features aren't anything veterans of the genre don't already know and understand. And, there are a complement of bugs and glitches that accompany this giant, but the core gameplay is solid. Warhammer Online isn't trying to reach a specific audience either, regardless of Mythic's original intention. Instead, it seems to be creating a whole new audience, turning and redefining players' expectations and behaviors. If MMOs are what you enjoy, Warhammer Online is one of the best on the market. It may not have a new combat system built from the ground up, or flashy next-generation graphics, but its success without those two elements is a feat in its own right.
CCC Freelance Writer